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Aspiring To Senior Leadership – Two Day Conference

Course Code:


Educational research and studies show that the standard of leadership in schools has a direct impact on the quality of academic and other achievements for students.

Newly appointed senior leaders are often surprised by the number and scale of interesting yet highly challenging responsibilities which accompany their roles: very often, experience in teaching prior to this level has not provided the opportunity to hone the skills required. This new, vibrant and informative conference provides a vital insight for anybody within, or aspiring to, a senior leadership role.

The conference brings together leading experts and key practitioners from a range of disciplines, who will give sessions focusing on many of the key areas in leadership: leading on teaching and learning, leading on pastoral care, day-to-day school/MAT operations, complex HR matters, and above all leading staff and pupils to achieve their very best in all areas.

Leaders are often called in when things go wrong, but have not always had the first-hand experience to equip them to respond effectively. In time, experience will provide, but problems do not wait, and so senior leaders need key skills to respond straight away. Theses sessions have been designed to provide practical skills and methodologies which can be applied in real settings, allowing newly appointed leaders to hit the ground running.

This is a conference not only for those who are newly appointed or who aspire to a role in educational leadership in the near future, but also for experienced professionals who may be supporting newly promoted leaders, or who wish to update their own understanding of key issues affecting educators today.


  • Learn best practice from experienced education professionals
  •  Gain a full understanding of the breadth of responsibilities for school leaders
  • Develop and hone your leadership knowledge and skills
  • Gain insight into the complexities of organisational and people management
  • Speak to sector leaders about current trends, opportunities and risks in education
  • An overview of school leadership, to appeal to pastoral, academic and operational leads in schools
  • Gain an insight into school leadership to help prepare your application for the next step in your career.
  • Meet other school leaders and build your network of professional support


Introduction & Welcome:

10.00 – 10.10am Ben Gudgeon, your host for this conference, Ben is Headmaster of a specialist music school and Chair of the International Forum of Arts Educators.

Outstanding Whole School Leadership

10.10 – 10.40am
  • Holding the banner for whole school leadership – the vision, mission
  • Change management – influencing change, having an impact in the right way
  • Dynamics of a strong senior leadership team – what do strong leadership teams do differently?
  • Whole school strategies: thinking on a different level – planning, development, policies
  • What do inspectors look for in outstanding, effective, and forward driving SLT teams?
David Gadarsingh – Chair of The Society of Heads; Academic and Pastoral Principal, The Royal Ballet School

Morning Break

10.40 – 11.00am

The Role of the Head of Year in Raising Academic Achievement

11.15 – 12.00pm
  • Conducting subject comparisons and identifying progress trends, collaborating with department heads and teachers to tackle underperformance
  • Monitoring, tracking, assessing and analysing rapid progress data
  • Identifying vulnerable students and groups before it’s too late
  • Implement targeted interventions and provide support, recognising the impact of effective feedback
Mark Taylor Deputy Headteacher, Pastoral, Transition and Senior DSL, Noel Baker Academy, Derby

Establishing Your SLT Leadership Presence in your SLT Team and across your school/MAT

11.00 – 11.15am
  • Making the transition from middle to senior leadership
  • How to manage existing relationships with colleagues who were peers but now report to you
  • Ways to establish your leadership presence in school
  • The importance of emotional intelligence in leadership
  • Pushing boundaries, taking risks – going above and beyond, creating an inspirational setting, stimulating learning
Emma Hattersley – Co-Head of the Schools Practice at Saxton Bampfylde

Establishing Your SLT Leadership Presence in your SLT Team and across your school/MAT

12.00 – 12.50pm
  • AI & secondary education
  • Using digital technology and AI to advance teaching and learning
  • The role of senior leaders in influencing IT policy and strategy
  • AI in the classroom
  • The future of IT in schools
Dr Andy Kemp – Principal, Head of the National Mathematics and Sciences College

Discussion, Q & A Panel

12.50pm – 1.00pm


1.00pm – 2.00pm

Breakout Strand 1

2.00 – 2.50pm

1A: The Ambitious, Aspiring Senior Leader: The Essentials

  • Stepping up from Middle to Senior Leadership – the expertise, skills and tactics required, and how to demonstrate them
  • Taking opportunities, expanding boundaries and taking calculated risks
  • Evaluating your key strengths and what to focus on to raise up to SLT level
  • What are the key criteria looked for in a potential senior leader?
  • Finding opportunities for leadership experience in your current school
Emma Hattersley – Co-Head of the Schools’ Practice at Saxton Bampfylde

1B: Leading Change: Going For Excellence

  • Creating the right culture, environment and conditions to lead change
  • How to drive high-quality teaching, learning and other achievements
  • Ambitious, inspired, and motivational leadership for effective change
  • Key strategies, policies and processes that work successfully to effectively lead change across the whole school
  • Effective worked examples
  • Taking risks and expanding boundaries
Michaela Khatib – Executive Headteacher, Cobham Free School

1C: Senior Leadership Team & Staff Collaboration to Drive Forward Excellence in Teaching & Learning

  • Collaborative staff development: creating a first-rate teaching and learning education
  • The Senior Leadership Team’s role in developing the right culture and conditions for high quality teaching and learning and other achievements
  • Methods to establish highly ambitious subject and pedagogical knowledge, to promote deep knowledge and understanding across the curriculum
  • Policies to ensure all staff have the same high expectations for all pupils
Emma Shakespeare – Assistant Principal for Teaching & Learning, Thomas Rotherham School for Best Practice Network.


3.00 – 3.50pm

Breakout Strand 2

3.00 – 3.50pm

2A: Raising departmental performance

  • Approaches to improve the quality of teaching & learning through effective staff leadership
  • How to ensure your staff use assessments effectively and used robustly to effect rapid student progress and outcomes
  • Approaches to building in regular planning and adaptability to levels of stretch and challenge
  • Interventions and support strategies – evaluating and putting in place the most appropriate strategies to support your at risk pupils
  • Ways to address weaker teaching to maintain over department high attainment levels
Michaela Khatib – Executive Headteacher, Cobham Free School

2B: Managing Difficult Conversations & Challenging Scenarios

  • Approaches to managing conflict successfully
  • Challenging conversations – different scenarios presented
  • Creating the right culture to get the most out of staff
  • Holding staff to account – strategies to apply when dealing with reluctant or under-performing staff
  • Dealing with difficult parents and pupils
  • ‘Poacher turned gamekeeper’ – how to manage your former teammates
  • When to be tough and when to give in
Matthew Jamieson – Senior Deputy Head, Sherborne School  

2C: Academic and Pastoral Tracking: making the data work for you

  • Academic and pastoral tracking
  • How and when to collect data
  • What does data tell you about your curriculum and the mood of your school?
  • From assessment, analysis, data analysis, to tracking, monitoring and feedback – how effective is your academic & pastoral data interaction and flow in achieving rapid student programme and high levels of attainment?
Trevor Greenhill – STEER Tracking


The Latest Directions AND Key Messages Affecting Educators

10.00 – 10.40am
  • The most recent policy updates and key priorities for school senior leaders
  • The very latest on the changing school curriculum landscape
  • Likely new and emerging issues that will impact on schools, MATs and alliances
  • Inspections and senior leadership – what is outstanding leadership at senior level
Pepe Di’ Iasio (invited) – General Secretary Elect – ASCL


10.40 – 11.00am

Leading on Children’s Personal Development

11.00 – 11.45am
  • Character education – ways to help students develop as individuals, developing confidence, resilience, grit, and initiative
  • Top considerations for devising a pastoral strategy
  • Ways to develop pupils to be highly reflective, aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and to understand how to improve their learning
  • Excellent ways to explore topics such as personal identity, future careers, universities of the world, issues that affect the wider society, extensive curriculum enrichment and diversity.
Victoria Raynor – Safeguarding Consultant; Chair of the International Forum of Safeguarding Professionals

Managing Complaints, Grievances and Investigations: How to run a fair and legally sound process

11.45 – 12.30pm
  •  Explore strategies to minimise stress for SLT in dealing with challenging situations
  • Tips for efficient record-keeping
  • Preparing for the barriers used to disrupt, delay or undermine procedures, and how to overcome them
  • Responding to complaints from pupils, parents and staff
  • Common pitfalls and how to avoid them
Maria Strauss – Partner at Farrer & Co. and one of the Founding Members of Farrer & Co’s Safeguarding Unit

Discussion, Q & A Panel

12.30 – 12.45pm  


12.45pm – 1.45pm

Breakout Strand 1

3.00 – 3.50pm

3A: The Day-to-Day

  • Managing your time effectively; the pros and cons of delegation
  • ‘Triage’ – balancing leadership priorities
  • The role of Senior Leaders in compliance, policy and preparation for inspection
  • ‘Cabinet responsibility’ – mutually supportive leadership within the team to provide collective accountability
  • Maintaining freshness and enthusiasm: professional and intellectual development
  • Managing daily operations
Matthew Jamieson – Senior Deputy Head, Sherborne School

3B: No stone left unturned” – leading on Pupil Voice

  •  Establishing an open culture within your school
  • How will you know if there are problems in your school? – Practical tips to establish effective and transparent feedback from pupils
  • Developing leadership skills in pupils; supporting pupils-led societies
  • Ensuring minority voices are represented and heard

3C: Safeguarding – Latest Changes in 2023 and what staff need to know and do

  • A child-centred and coordinated approach to safeguarding
  • How to ensure your staff are trained and confident
  • Current concerns and trends in safeguarding
Victoria Raynor – Safeguarding Consultant; Chair of the International Forum of Safeguarding Professionals


2.40pm – 2.50pm


11.45 – 12.30pm
  • Pit your wits against a variety of complicated employment scenarios
  • Why everything you thought you knew about HR is now wrong
  • Keeping up to date with ever-changing laws
  • A fun, informative, and engaging way to end the conference
Maria Strauss – Partner at Farrer & Co. and one of the Founding Members of Farrer & Co’s Safeguarding Unit

Discussion & Depart

3.30pm – 3.45pm


London | Thursday 01 and Friday 02 February 2024

Please select your preferred date

If you would like more information or to discuss this conference further with our CPD team get in touch on 01625 532974 or click below.


Pepe Di’Iasio – General Secretary Elect, ASCL (Invited) Pepe will take over as General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) in April 2024. Pepe is currently headteacher at Wales High School in Rotherham and served as ASCL President 2021/22. He began his teaching career in Doncaster before moving as deputy headteacher to an 11-19 teaching school in Sheffield. He has also worked as an executive headteacher of two high schools and assistant director of education for Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. He was formerly chair of ASCL Equality, Inclusion and Ethics Committee.

David Gajadharsingh – Chair of The Society of Heads; Academic and Pastoral Principal, The Royal Ballet School David Gajadharsingh did his first degree in Aeronautical Engineering and then went on to study for his PGCE at Oxford University. He started his teaching career at Peers School in Blackbird Leys, Oxford. He left teaching for a brief sojourn with Glaxo Pharmaceuticals in their sales and marketing department before returning to the profession, as a Physics teacher, Head of Year, Head of Physics and Deputy Headmaster. David took up the post of Headmaster of Bedstone College in Shropshire in 2011 and joined the Royal Ballet School in April 2019. David has always been involved in playing and teaching sport and has gained county, national and international honours in fencing. At Oxford he was awarded a fencing ‘Blue’ and he has run clubs in fencing, football, basketball, badminton, table tennis and cricket during his teaching career. David was born in Trinidad and Tobago. David is married to Gabi and they have two daughters.

Emma Hattersley – Co-Head of the Schools’ Practice at Saxton Bampfylde Emma has worked as co-head of the Schools’ Practice at Saxton Bampfylde since 2022. She has worked with a number of prestigious independent and maintained sector schools placing candidates in a variety of leadership positions. Prior to her role in executive search, Emma has spent over three decades teaching in a variety of educational settings. Emma was Head of Godolphin School, an HMC day and boarding school, for nine years, before which she was a Housemistress at Canford School and Deputy Head at Sherborne Girls. She brings extensive understanding of educational leadership. She has chaired the HMC Inspection sub-committee, served as an inspector for ISI and is a former member of the ISI Educational Advisory Forum. She read music at Durham University and then studied for two years at the Royal Academy of Music as a postgraduate.

Maria Strauss – Partner, Farrer and Co. specialist in employment and safeguarding Maria advises clients including not-for-profit organisations, independent schools, sports clubs and faith-based organisations on employment and safeguarding matters. She also acts for senior executive clients, particularly in the context of investigations or inquiries that they may be involved in. Maria has guided employer clients through many complex matters ranging from one off cases to issues that may involve or impact many staff members. She also advises HR teams (from all sectors) on more routine areas of employment law, such as performance management and staff exits. Maria was one of the founding members of Farrer & Co’s Safeguarding Unit. She advises all types of organisations who work with children on their legal obligations and has helped clients embed safer cultures through audits and support with policies and procedures. As well as advisory work, Maria has advised on a significant number of safeguarding cases. Maria is a versatile lawyer with excellent knowledge of related legal areas such as GDPR, charity law, disputes and insurance law. She co-leads the firm’s investigations practice.

Trevor Greenhill – STEER Tracking Trevor brings with him 33 years of teaching experience in the primary and secondary sector. In addition to teaching and elite sports coaching, Trevor was a boarding House Master for 19 years at Millfield school in Somerset, UK and prior to that a Day House Master and Head of Year for 5 years at Colfe’s School, London. He joined the STEER team in 2017 and has been guiding some of our largest senior schools from launch, through roll-out, towards accredited status. Trevor has been pioneering the use of STEER Tracking in Premier League Football academies, demonstrating the impact the tool can have on the sustained, holistic performance and wellbeing of elite young players. Trevor is passionate about sharing the contribution STEER Tracking can make to pastoral care, safeguarding and long term pupil wellbeing in schools and is becoming a well-known contributor at conferences and events, sharing his experience of working with 70+ schools and academies. STEER has wellbeing data for 70,000+ pupils during the last 5 years which clearly shows the impact of Covid lockdowns.

Michaela Khatib – Executive Headteacher, Cobham Free School Michaela Khatib read Education and Music at Homerton College, Cambridge, holds a Masters Degree in Leading Innovation and Change in Education and has completed the National Professional Qualification in Executive Leadership. Michaela’s career has involved leadership roles in the independent and state sector, and managing the Partnerships and Outreach programme at The Yehudi Menuhin School, Surrey. Following a successful bid to the DfE, Michaela founded Cobham Free School and now leads the all-through establishment as Executive Headteacher. She has written various articles on education topics, including for the TES, been on advisory boards for ‘Best Practice Network’ and ‘Parents and Teachers for Excellence’ and recently collaborated with Northumbria University on a research publication about ‘how to create a school’.

Ben Gudgeon – Chair, International Forum of Arts Educators Ben is the headmaster of The Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey, a school which provides highly gifted young classical musicians with specialist tuition alongside academic study. He studied in Music and French at Bristol University and the Sorbonne (Paris). He went on to study in the USA at postgraduate level in vocal performance, conducting, and piano, whilst teaching undergraduate music theory and piano. After ten years as a freelance performer, Ben turned to education, specialising first in performing arts education and then in pastoral care. He is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, Chair of the International Forum of Arts Educators, and a Trustee of ArtsEd.

Victoria Raynor – Safeguarding Consultant; Chair of the International Forum of Safeguarding Professionals As a strategic leader in the field of Safeguarding in Education, Victoria is dedicated to driving change and improving outcomes for children and young people. With nearly twenty years of experience, she has developed a deep understanding of the complex challenges involved in safeguarding in education, and has honed her skills in developing and implementing effective strategies to address them. Victoria has a proven track record of delivering successful projects and initiatives that have improved outcomes for children and young people, and has built strong relationships with key stakeholders in the education sector, advising education leaders on safeguarding best practices. Her expertise in strategic leadership includes developing and implementing safeguarding policies and procedures that are tailored to the specific needs of schools and educational institutions, designing and delivering training and awareness-raising sessions for staff, students and parents, and conducting safeguarding reviews and audits to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements. Through her work, Victoria is passionate about ensuring that every child and young person in education is protected from harm or abuse, and has the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential.

Dr Andy Kemp – Principal, Head of the National Mathematics and Sciences College Dr Andy Kemp is Principal of The National Mathematics and Science College, based in the Midlands on the edge of the Warwick University campus. The National Mathematics and Science College is the top performing specialist STEM sixth form day and boarding school in the UK. Joining NatMatSci was something of a homecoming for him as he studied for his BSc in Mathematics, PGCE, MSc and EdD in Mathematics Education all at the University of Warwick. More recently he has completed his MBA at UCL in 2017. He has spoken at conferences around the world in relation to the role that technology and AI play in education, and has been published in several journals, magazines, and collective works.

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